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K-kit and tools

K-kit is an innovative, easy to use specimen holder for the imaging and analysis of liquid samples with TEM. It is a single-use holder with a sealable micro-channel formed between two silicon nitride membranes. A choice of membrane thickness of 30nm or 100nm is available for a wide range of sample types and applications.  K-kit is compatible with most standard brands of TEM holders.

K-kit is manufactured from silicon combined with Si3N4 membranes using the latest MEMS technologies. The K-kit microchannel comprises two rectangular silicon nitride membranes with a viewing window of 300µm x 25µm.

The gap (channel height) between the two membranes is available with options of 0.1µm, 0.2µm, 0.5µm, 1.0µm, 2.0µm and 5.0µm.

Included with each K-kit is a copper aperture grid to mount the sealed wet cell.

Applications are wide ranging from, material, life, chemical and biological sciences.  Nanoparticles can be imaged in their native state or in-situ dynamic physical and/or chemical reactions can be observed. K-kit is also proving to have a number of advantages for nanopharmaceutical applications (see below).

K-kit can also be used for EDX analysis of liquid samples (see below).

K-kit can also be used in dry ‘thin-layer’ mode. The suspended particles are dried in the K-kit microchannel to avoid agglomeration which tends to occur when droplets of suspensions are dried on a support film.

Compatible with FE-SEM  STEM detectors. K-kits with 30nm Si3N4 membranes are compatible with FE-SEMs equipped with a STEM detector when 25 – 30kV is used for imaging. The best results for this application are achieved in dry mode.

  • Easy to use liquid TEM sample holder for aqueous suspensions
  • Low cost alternative to very expensive in-situ liquid TEM holders
  • Single use avoids cross contamination
  • Choice of two microchannels: 0.2 µm and 2 µm
  • Compatible with STEM detectors in FESEM systems @ 25-30 kV
  • Suitable for EDS analysis
  • Complete set of  dedicated preparation tools available
  • Dry ‘thin-layer’ mode for quantitative analysis of nano-particles

Using K-kit

K-kit is easy to use with a few small tools. Using the K-kit holder touch the K-kit chip onto a droplet to draw in the liquid. The liquid sample enters the microchannel of K-kit by capillary action. Using the same holder turned into an upright position the microchannel is sealed using vacuum proof (Torr Seal®) glue and then a 3.05mm hole grid is mounted with adhesive. After a short pump down in a vacuum chamber the K-kit liquid sample is ready for imaging.

The video (right) shows the loading and ease of use of K-kit from start to finish.

Instructions for use can be downloaded as a pdf  Please see top of this page.


Below you will find various instructional videos illustrated the procedures for using K-kit for best results.

Using K-kit with the tool box kit.


Using K-kit with fine tweezers.


Removing the K-kit tips using tweezers.


Replacing the needle used for gluing K-kits.


K-kit can be used in many applications where TEM visualisation of samples in their native liquid form is desirable. Examples include industries such as food, cosmetics, pharmaceutical and electronics where nanoparticles need to be characterised lend themselves to the use of K-kit.


Dynamic TEM observation of silicate nanoparticles in water

Dynamic TEM observation of polystyrene beads under various media

TEM studies of CaCO3 particles in milk

EDX analysis is achievable on a K-kit by pointing the long side of the window to the detector and tilting the holder at an angle.

EDX available angles for different kinds of TEM equipment

For some types of TEM installed with multiple EDX detectors, they usually can get a clear X-ray excited signal from K-kit, no need to turn any of body rotation or tilting. 

Below is an example of using K-kit with a liquid AuCL3 sample for EDX:

  • TEM: Hitachi 7700
  • EDX: Single Detector
  • Liquid Sample: AuCl3
  • Tilt Angle: 0°, 10°, 20°

Ordering information:

K-kit for liquid TEM 

Please select the K-kit membrane thickness, chamber height and pack size from the following:

K-kit tools and K-kit options

Tools and accessories are required for using K-kit. The K-kit tool box contains all the items you need. Additional parts and consumables are also available.